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We must also reconcile that the increasing popularity of this “brightening”-saturated cosmetic market is emerging from an ethnically homogeneous country (South Korea is about 96 percent ethnically Korean) where ethnocentrism, colorism, and anti-black racism run rampant, though it is not unique in any of these politics.
The campaign’s success would be signaled by the eventual elimination of blackness and dark skin, leaving a population marked by the dominance and continued existence of “superior” European/white genes.
The Cuban government, for example, invested millions of dollars in trying to coax white Spaniards to the island: Between 19, approximately 128,000 white Spaniards had moved there.
It owns Pond’s, Fair & Lovely (a product popular in Indian and Southeast Asian cosmetic markets), and the Filipino product Block & White, as well as the range of Vaseline and Dove’s whitening products.
And beyond these familiar images exists whitening as deliberate state policy.
There seems to be a clear distinction between the practice of someone desiring a lighter complexion and using skin bleaching products and someone having an otherwise “healthy” relationship to their coloring.
But there is unspoken messaging in the images we’re bombarded with that seem to elevate colonial and white-aspiring beauty standards: the actual process of whitening.
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Recently, while I was scrolling through Instagram, I stumbled upon one of Neutrogena’s recent advertisements for a deep cleanser.
But most of them did not resettle permanently, and so by the 1920s, the policy was eventually halted and deemed a failure.
The racial project with which we are most familiar is probably Nazi eugenics.